Jobless claims in U.S. unexpectedly rise to two-month high

States Breakdown

Thirty-three states and territories reported an increase in claims, while 20 reported a decline. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

Auto plants typically shut down to retool for the new model year, often playing havoc with the claims data in July.

“Claims could be in for a bumpy ride over the next couple weeks,” said Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies LLC in New York. “Changes in production schedules in the auto sector could again cause some volatility in initial jobless claims, making the data difficult to interpret.”

Ford Motor Co. said it will idle most of its North American assembly plants for one week this summer instead of two, to increase output. Three of Chrysler Group LLC’s assembly plants and all except one of its engine, transmission and stamping factories will skip a summer shutdown this year. Since its 2009 bankruptcy, General Motors Co. hasn’t had a formal summer shutdown, Mark Reuss, president of the company’s North American operations, told reporters in May.

Auto Sales

GM and Ford, makers of the best-selling big pickups in the U.S., reported new-vehicle deliveries in June that topped estimates as the industry selling pace accelerated to the fastest in 67 months.

Initial jobless claims reflect weekly firings and typically wane before job growth accelerates.

Payrolls rose by 195,000 workers for a second month in June, indicating the U.S. is poised for faster growth as it shakes off the impact of tax increases and budget cuts. The jobless rate stayed at 7.6 percent, close to a four-year low.

Some companies are paring headcount. Sprint Nextel Corp., the third-largest wireless carrier, said this week in a filing that it will exit some leases related to Clearwire Corp.’s commercial offices, cell towers and retail stores, and reduce employee headcount in connection with the merger. Clearwire shareholders on July 8 voted in favor of Sprint’s bid for full control of the wireless Internet operator.

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